The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Ron Warnick
Staff writer 

Fuel mixup fouls engines


October 14, 2020

A fuel vendor’s mistake at the Yesway convenience store in San Jon led to fouled engines for numerous residents and other customers who filled up their diesel vehicles for about a four-day period.

A company spokeswoman said the Iowa-based company would reimburse customers for repairs, towing expenses and alternate transportation caused by the flub. She did not know how many customers were affected.

The fuel vendor inadvertently put gasoline into a diesel storage tank in front of the store, she said.

Steve Kent, owner of S.S. Kent Construction of San Jon, said four pickup trucks, a bulldozer and skid steer in his company’s fleet were inoperable after they received diesel at the Yesway at 2369 S. 4th St. in San Jon.

During a phone interview last week, Kent ticked off the names of at least nine area residents whose vehicles also had been affected by the bad fuel.

Kent estimated the store dispensed the fuel from Sept. 29 through Oct. 4 before it shut down those pumps.

Kent, who estimates he spends tens of thousands of dollars on fuel at the Yesway for his business, said he worried about other customers who bought the bad diesel at the store.

“The public needs to know about this problem,” he said.

Denton Dowell of Clovis, who has family in the Tucumcari area, said in a telephone interview last week he purchased a fill-up of diesel for his pickup truck the evening of Sept. 30 at the Yesway in San Jon before heading home.

Dowell said he made it back to Clovis but twice had difficulty starting his truck after he was summoned to the ranch where he works later that evening.

The second time he started his truck that night, “I drove it maybe 100 yards, and it died and gave up the ghost.” He caught another ride to go back home.

Dowell said he managed, with difficulty, to start the truck the next morning and took it promptly to a repair shop.

“They told me this pickup’s half-full of gasoline,” he said.

Dowell said he began to see reports on social media later that week about bad fuel at the San Jon Yesway and called a manager there about it.

“I told them they needed to put ‘out of order’ signs on their diesel tanks,” he recalled. “I told them I got bad fuel there, and they said, ‘Yeah, we’ve got a long list.’”

Dowell said it took about three days and $900 to fix his truck’s engine. He said he later would take the repair receipt to the store.

“I heard from other people they’re taking claims, so I assumed they’ll cover it,” he said. “If not, they’re going to have a lot of pissed-off people.”

Erin Vadala, president of Warner PR, said on behalf of Yesway the company would reimburse expenses for the bad fuel.

“We appreciate our customers alerting us to issues they were having with their vehicles after purchasing fuel at the Yesway located in San Jon, New Mexico, last week,” Vadala stated in an email Thursday. “We take their feedback very seriously, and after investigating found that a fuel vendor had mistakenly added gasoline into the diesel tank located in front of the store. The high flow truck diesel tanks at the rear of the store were not affected.

“We apologize for any inconvenience or trouble that may have caused, and are working with our customers to ensure those affected are made whole and receive reimbursement for repairs, towing, and alternate transportation costs they may have had as a result. Again, we ask anyone who believes they may have been affected to contact Yesway at”


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